Sun 13th May 2007
'This Is Our Black Sabbath' kicks off the album by one of the UK's finest underground bands, Charger, with a simple riff crawling out the speakers that grinds on for a good 11 minutes, before it changes pace ever so slightly to something a little more punishing. To call this bleak would be an understatement, this is the soundtrack to an overdose, a musical suicide if you will. To choose something so moribund for the opening track, to this long-awaited album, is a very brave move.
Which sets the scene nicely for the next song 'Cult Vs Cunt', which is the musical equivalent of a brick in the face. This flies out of the blocks and is 2 minutes of brutal riffing and blasting drums. I feel like I've been beaten up, and I love it. 'Shake! Baby! Shake!' carries on that feeling and starts with the rhythm section laying down a beast of a groove, before the guitars are deployed and some a nice touch of harmonics at the end of the measure. The band slow it down for the second half of the song, and it's classic Charger, with a single guitar setting the tempo for the ending.
'The Pride Of Essex' is a punchy number that doesn't let up, save for a horribly distorted slow ending and feedback which leads into 'For All Intents And Purposes (You're Already Dead)'. You may have heard this track before, as it was on a split CD with Birds Of Paradise released at the end of 2005 on Calculated Risk Products, and is 10 minutes of more bleak riffing and agonised vocals. One thing that does strike you on this album is the delivery of Martin Ives' vocals, and how passionate they are, you can really tell that they come from the pit of his stomach.
Another previously heard track follows in the form of 'The Amputee' from the split with Black Eye Riot on Calculon Records, and it follows a well-thumbed blueprint, a violent start with a slower ending featuring a gloriously discordant guitar line, before it ends with a stabbing crescendo of chords. 'This Is Not A Song About Vampires' is a much more direct attack and the band keep it simple in this song.
'The Bereavement Dividend' starts with a restrained riff, with the band trying to keep the violent beast on its leash, including some clean guitars, before it can be held back no longer. This track is by the far best on the CD, epic in nature and truly apocalyptic in places, and as the song ends in a swamp of feedback and drumbeats, it fades into the album-closing electronic track 'Inducing The Gag Reflex'.
It's easy to try and pigeon-hole Charger and reel off the bands and genres they are obviously influenced by, but they take these influences and forge something that sounds fresh from the melting pot, rather than sounding like just another average copycat band.
Listening to the album as a whole is certainly an experience that takes you through a whole range of negative and violent feelings and leaves a lasting impression, but the riffs and musicianship on show really cement the band's place as ones on top of their game. An early contender for album of 2007 in my eyes.